13 tips for moving overseas when you are a business owner

So, you’ve decided to take the leap and move your life and business overseas? Congratulations! You’re about to embark on one of the most thrilling chapters of your life.

However, unlike a simple move across town, relocating internationally as a business owner has its own set of,  sometimes difficult, challenges. But as a successful business woman, you will, of course, know that challenges are there to be overcome, so let’s tale a look at a few things you should do before relocating.

1) Hire a decent moving company

Unless you plan to flex your muscles and move everything yourself (which, spoiler alert, includes mountains of paperwork), you’ll want to hire a decent moving company, such as Swiss Transport, for example.

This isn’t just about moving your stuff; it’s about moving your life and that means you want someone capable on the job. Look for movers with international experience, stellar reviews, and the ability to conjure a customs form faster than you can say “shipping container maze.” 

2) Understand the legalities

Before you start dreaming of your new office with a view of the Eiffel Tower, you really need to get down to the nitty-gritty of legalities. Different countries have wildly different laws about business operations, taxes, visas, and permits. That’s why you will absolutely need to consult with legal experts both in your home country and your destination country. This step is as crucial as remembering to pack your passport – unless you enjoy legal limbo as a new hobby.

3) Sort out your finances, such as banking

Managing finances across international borders is about as easy as painting a landscape while you’re wearing a blindfold! So, be sure to set up banking arrangements in your new country while keeping one foot in your home country’s financial soil, just in case. You might also want to cry a little over international transaction fees (it’s okay, we’ve all done it), then find yourself a financial advisor who can navigate the foreign fiscal waters without capsizing your bank account.

4) Work out what tech and communication you’ll need

Unless you plan on sending smoke signals back to your original client base, you’ll need a robust plan for staying connected. Invest in reliable international communication tools and services. And remember, while your new local SIM card might make you feel like a local, it won’t do squat for those international conference calls at 2 am.

5) Research the local business etiquette

Every country has its own business culture and etiquette – ignore this at your peril. In Japan, for instance, exchanging business cards is more ritualistic than your morning coffee routine. Failing to adapt can make you look like a business newbie, or worse, a rude foreigner. Read up, watch videos, or, better yet, find a local mentor to coach you on the do’s and don’ts.

6) Learn the local language – don’t rely on gestures alone

If your new country speaks a language you can’t, it’s time to hit the books (or apps). While English might be a common business language, being able to converse in the local tongue can drastically improve your daily life and business dealings. Plus, it reduces the chances of accidentally ordering 100 chickens instead of 100 chicken sandwiches.

7) Build a professional network in your new country

Recreating your professional network overseas is like starting freshman year all over again – exciting, nerve-wracking, and potentially filled with awkward introductions.

Start building connections early. Attend industry meetups, join local business groups, and don’t be shy to introduce yourself. Remember, networking is like planting seeds; do it well, and you’ll reap the benefits later.

8) Market like a local guru

You know your business better than anyone, but you might not know how it fits into the new market. Research is your new best friend. Learn what locals want, how they shop, and where they hang out online. Tailor your marketing strategies to match local tastes without losing your brand’s identity. It’s a delicate dance of global appeal and local charm.

9) Take a piece of home with you

Amidst all the excitement and chaos, it’s easy to feel unmoored. Keep some elements from your home country in your new life. Whether it’s a favorite book, regular video chats with family, or just making your mom’s famous cookies, a touch of home can provide comfort on those overwhelming days.

10) Setup a local base

Establishing a physical presence can significantly boost your credibility and approachability in a new market. Consider setting up a small local office or a coworking space membership when you arrive. This space can serve as your operations base, help you feel more grounded, and provide a professional setting for meetings.

11) Work out how to manage multiple time zones

If your business still operates in your home country or across multiple time zones, develop strategies to manage these differences effectively. Use scheduling tools that can handle time zone conversions, and establish clear communication protocols to ensure you’re reachable during overlapping business hours, thus maintaining continuity with clients and teams across the globe.

12) Do your healthcare homework

Don’t let a medical mishap catch you off guard in your new country. Research the healthcare system thoroughly. Is it public, private, or a mix of both? How does insurance work? Secure an international health insurance plan to cover you until you’re eligible for local coverage. Understanding the local medical system is not just practical – it’s essential for peace of mind.

13) Stay flexible

Finally, keep your plans flexible. Living and working overseas is full of surprises – you might need to tweak (or overhaul) your business plan, pivot your marketing strategy, or even change your product lineup. Stay adaptable, keep learning, and maintain your sense of humor. After all, flexibility is the key to adventure!

Moving overseas when you own a business can be a little (or a lot) more complicated than moving overseas as an employee, but if you have always wanted to live in another country, it should not stop you from doing so because, let’s face it, as a successful entrepreneur, you are used to following your dreams and making it work!